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The Tortured Poets Department: My Initial Thoughts

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at IUP chapter.

Let me just say, Taylor Swift does it again. She left me feeling absolutely tortured, pondering my life and emotions after listening to The Tortured Poets Department, that’s for sure. As I listened to this new album for the first time, I was shocked and impressed by her lyrics. She truly is a mastermind and a lyrical genius when it comes to her music.

I wasn’t even able to process the album before she shocked us all by announcing the double album, The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology featuring 15 extra songs! This album marks the longest album she has ever released with 31 songs, surpassing Red (Taylor’s Version), which has 30 songs. 

As I listened to the extra songs, they just kept getting better and better. I immediately knew that this album was one of her best, if not the best. Waking up the next day and seeing all of the records she was breaking, including the biggest album debut of all time with over 313 million streams in less than 24 hours, all while being the most streamed artist in a single day in Spotify history, proved that theory. Before she even released this album, it had broken the record for the most amount of Spotify pre-saves. 

Even though this album hasn’t been out for very long, it has become my favorite Taylor Swift album. I know that it is a crazy thing to say considering she has 10 other albums that are amazing, but to me, The Tortured Poets Department is true art and perfection. Even though I love Taylor Swift with all my heart, I will say that I don’t always enjoy every song, and there are certain albums I don’t listen to a lot. The Tortured Poets Department is an album that I can say with full confidence, is a no-skip album in my opinion; I genuinely love all 31 songs. She truly carries the music industry and proved that with this album. She also proved that while she is a self-made millionaire, she is still a human being that experiences true heartbreak like everyone else. 

There have been some people who don’t like this album because it is different from her previous ones, and they don’t like how “depressing and dark” her lyrics are. In my opinion, this proves the idea that people are trying to keep her trapped in a very specific box of making music for younger listeners. This was the first album that she truly wrote about what she has been experiencing, both mentally and emotionally, within these past six years. Not only did her long-term relationship end, but no one knows what she actually experienced behind closed doors. And, she had to perform concert after concert singing songs about the love of her life, after she had just experienced true heartbreak when the relationship ended. 

I am not saying everyone needs to listen to her music and love her, but putting random expectations on a grown adult woman, and saying people should lead with caution while listening to this album is insane. There are plenty of artists out there who write songs that have even more curse words, and talk about even deeper things than Taylor did. She shouldn’t be expected to only write about certain things that the public expects her to write about. It is her music, and she has the complete freedom to write and produce the songs she wants her listeners to hear. Even if you are not a fan of Taylor, I would recommend this album to everyone. At least give it a listen, and even if you don’t like it, hopefully you can still appreciate her lyrics and message! 

Mikenna McFadden is a member of the HerCampus IUP chapter, and her writing varies across the entertainment aspect of news. Mikenna is also apart of the social media team, where she posts relatable content on the club's TikTok account! At IUP, Mikenna is expected to graduate in the Spring of 2027. In Mikenna's free time she enjoy reading romance books, watching movies, and listening to music. Some of her favorite singers include Taylor Swift, Gracie Abrams, Renee Rapp, Olivia Rodrigo, and Noah Kahan! Mikenna is a huge fan of all of these things, and they spark a lot of her inspiration for her articles!